Review: J.D. Watt – Burnt

J.D. Watt

Michael meets Simone at a bar, and finds himself suddenly smitten with her, despite being 20 years older. Their relationship develops through text messages, skype and emails, until Michael finds himself deeply in love with her. There’s a rival for Simone’s affections though, and what the men don’t know could harm them both irrevocably.

burntHow much do you love this cover? I absolutely loved it! It’s one that is going to get people talking, particularly if you’re reading the novel out in public. That can only be a good thing. There’s plenty of talking points to be gotten from this novel, particularly that both men and women can be unfaithful, even if it always seems to be the man’s fault to other popular fiction! These days, I think it’s equally likely in both sexes, even if men have gotten away with it with a pat on the back so far.

The blurb is probably what destroyed the novel for me. I found myself completely uninterested in the early dating stages of Michael and Simone, simply because I was promised that things would get messy and there was no chance this was actually going to work out. I wanted to see the ‘train-wreck’ happening faster! Particularly since once I worked out what was going on, it was obvious what the next stages would be.

The text message dialogue didn’t work for me at all. I found myself skimming over it, which is never a good sign. It seemed highly repetitive, and I would have much preferred traditional text. Even emails would have been preferable, as the text wouldn’t have jumped around so much, and I would have gotten more out of each dialogue exchange. Also, the sex scenes could have just been left out – they weren’t necessary to the text and I felt vaguely offended that they had been included without a real purpose.

I came away from this novel wishing that it had just somehow been ‘more’ in a way. I didn’t connect enough with the main character. I feel like that in the writing, the author’s attempts to continue distancing himself from his painful past hindered the reader’s understanding of it. Maybe it would have worked better had it not been so autobiographical?

I was lucky enough to receive this copy in return for a review. Despite my complaints about this novel, I think there is still some real writing potential and I can’t wait to see how the future pans out. 2.5 stars from me. I can’t tell you not to read it, because it truly is a one-of-a-kind book, particularly in Australian fiction, and there’s a good chance it will resonate better with someone else.


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